On 1 February 2013, thousands of residents, visitors and celebrities joined the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA) and Metro-North Railroad in saying "Happy Birthday Grand Central" with a morning public rededication ceremony and musical performances that kept guests entertained into the evening. Peter Stangl, MTA Chairman and Co-Chair of the Centennial remarked that his team had "revived the heart of New York" after years of neglect and "fulfilled the promise of those who fought so hard to save (the Grand Central Terminal) from the wrecking ball" by making the space "appealing and grand again".
[ADVERT]While the London Underground celebrates 150 years as the world's oldest subway, New York City's (NYC) iconic institution and one of America's greatest transportation hubs celebrates its 100th birthday. According to Metro-North President Howard Permut, many organisations "with ties to New York City have stepped forward to provide funding" that make many of the Centennial year activities possible including Target, Westin New York Grand Central Hotel, CBRE, Carvel Corporation and Columbia Business School.
New York Transit Museum saluted the historic centennial with its 11th annual Holiday Train Show featuring model Metro-North and New York Central trains departing a miniature Grand Central by Lionel (manufacturer of model trains and accessories), vintage model trains from its collection and railroad posters that reminisce the heyday of long distance and commuter train travel.
New York Transit Museum's 11th Annual Holiday train Show / Photo by MTAPhotos of Flickr
The New York Transit Museum launched a new multimedia installation from 1 February to 15 March 2013 at the Vanderbilt Hall. Entitled "Grand by Design: A Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal", this new centrepiece of the Centennial celebration showcases in dramatic multimedia fashion, the history and impact of GCT in its first century.
Visitors can enjoy free-standing installations, projections, larger-than-life photography, authentic artifacts, digital docents as well as new and historical audio and video that reveals how the iconic GCT shaped modern New York, determines it future and changed the way residents travel over the next decade.
* Debut of "Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark" Book
Fans of GCT can take home a new book by the New York Transit Museum and Anthony W. Robins which traces the Terminal's history and design from 1 February 2013. Taken by Frank English, official photographer of Metro-North Railroad of more than 25 years and MTA's chief photographer, Patrick Cashin, the coffee table book contains 200 new and archival photographs of every corner of GCT such as the Main Concourse and its massive power station hidden 10 stories below. Metro-North President Howard Permut commented that the "richly illustrated book brings to life the history and glamour of the Terminal" and even those who "know the terminal intimately will garner new knowledge from Robins' insightful book." It is available for sale at New York Transit Museum store.
* On Time / Grand Central at 100
From 6 March to 7 July 2013, the MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design will present an exhibition about "Time" and about the connection between GCT an the people who move and live through it, both in the past and the future.
Entitled "On Time / Grand Central at 100" the artworks by more than a dozen contemporary artists attempt to capture and reimagine these moments and connect them with the present. Visitors can enjoy works depicting architecture, crowds, iconography, and poetics of GCT by notable artists including Jim Campbell, Penelope Umbrico, Lothar Osterburg, Patrick Jacobs, Paloma Munoz and Walter Martin, Paul Himmel, Olive Ayhens, London Squared Productions, Pop Chart Lab and many more at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex.
Poets and artists honour GCT at 7pm on 10 April with a grand narrative in the vaulted main concourse and clock, which has bore witness to countless moments and stories of commuters and visitors over time. MTA Arts for Transit and the Poetry Society of America will bring together poets including Billy Collins, Aracelis Girmay, and Jeffrey Yang featured in the newly re-launched Poetry in Motion program and performers from Music Under New York at 7pm in Vanderbilt Hall.
* Grand Central Talks
Presented by Metro-North Railroad, New York Transit Museum and New York Public Library, visitors can enjoy a series of panels with authors, experts and historians who explore the history and heroes of GCT's past and future on 11 April at 12pm, 3.30pm and 6pm.
The good people at Grand Central Partnership will be presenting menu items from more than 30 of the best local food purveyors flanking 42nd Street and Park Avenue on 2 May 2013 at 7 pm in the Vanderbilt Hall.
* Grand Centennial Parade of Trains Weekend
Historic Trains return to GCT for a weekend of rare public display including "The Most Famous Train in the World" on 11 and 12 May 2013. Visitors can expect family friendly activities, performances, trade show, railroad artifacts and a show of "railroadiana" for avid collectors at locations around GCT including Vanderbilt Hall and Tracks 34-27.
New York Transit Museum / Photo by David Gallagher of Flickr
From 27 July to 3 November 2013, New York Transit Museum will present behind-the-scenes images of the East Side Access project located 18 stories beneath the street level by photographer Hiroyuki Suzuki.
* Grand Central Terminal Up Close and Personal
A great way to get to know GCT is to join the "Audio Tour" at the Terminal. Available daily from 9am to 6pm, visitors can choose the "express" or "local" option that run for 30 minutes to over an hour.
The tour focuses on the Terminal's history, archival material, anecdotes, architectural highlights and even little known secrets. there's also an introduction by New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Visitors will finish the tour armed with interesting details and insights. The tour includes an audio device, headset and a map of the terminal at USD7 for adults, USD6 for seniors and the disabled, and USD5 for students and children.
Without doubt, GCT holds a special place in the hearts of many residents and visitors. This amazing icon of NYC is the "closest thing New York has to a town square" and "a great place to gather, to celebrate, to feel like a part of the community...where people excuse themselves in rushing by you or strike up a conversation sitting next to you over coffee" according to Tom Prendergast, Interim Executive Director and President of NYC Transit. MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer said it best when he described that the Terminal "born 100 years ago as a symbol of the promise that New York and America held in the early 20th Century...stands grander today than ever."